Top officials of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) are pushing for their president Abhay Singh Chautala to ask secretary-general Lalit Bhanot to step down from the post.
It is reliably learnt that a few senior office-bearers of the IOA had an informal meeting on Wednesday and were of the opinion that Bhanot should not be associated with the association in any capacity'. Bhanot, who was charged by a Delhi court of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in relation to the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal, was elected as the secretary general of the IOA earlier this month.
"Someone has to bell the cat! Bhanot is a big fish and only Chautala can tell him to step down in the interest of the IOA. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is upset at the inclusion of Bhanot as much as it is with the government intervention The house is divided over the presence of Bhanot. We will meet Chautala soon and convey our demand," an official told The Indian Express.
The official added that high-level talks between them and the government officials are on in order to arrive at an amicable solution as far as implementation of the Sports Code is concerned.
Striking a balance
"We have to strike a balance between the Sports Code and the Olympic Charter. Once the IOC officials resume work in the New Year, we will seek a meeting with them as well. We are confident that a solution will be reached and the suspension will be lifted soon. But if Bhanot continues to stay, then that will be a clear violation of IOC orders. So our aim is make sure all corners are covered," the official added.
The IOA has been suspended by the IOC earlier this month for failing to comply with its statutes and taking proactive steps against government interference. The IOC, in particular, had ordered that Suresh Kalmadi and Bhanot be kept away from the functioning of the IOA.